Our sense of smell is a powerful trigger for our memory. Have you had the experience of walking into a room and immediately being transported to another place, just because of the aroma…or odor? I was once mentally ‘teleported’ back to my grandmother’s small apartment in San Fransisco. With a whiff, I was seeing her piles of knitted blankets and recalling the stuffy, wood-paneled rooms where she lived.
How about the smell of a charcoal fire? It reminds us of what’s coming next: a barbeque dinner. I was jogging next to a park and all it took was the smell of lighter fluid burning to make me hungry! All In Men (AIM) are going to enjoy another summer Grill & Chill (#2 on August 24 - visit AIM's Guys Events page for info). Lots of men around southern Maryland are eager to gather 'round after all the mandatory social distancing - and more so when there is meat on the menu! AIM’s invitations regularly mention “Fire, Friends, and Food” to motivate men to get together for an evening of fellowship. I was thinking about why these always get my attention and the story came to mind of how Jesus circled up his disciples around a fire pit for some grilled fish.
John 21:8-14 “The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
Jesus knew that Peter had warmed himself near another fire just a couple of days before. When asked if he knew Jesus, the words Peter spit into that smoke had been ones of denial (Luke 22:54-62). This is the same guy who had declared Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). Under the pressure of a vicious plot to kill Jesus, however, Peter abandoned the brash promise he had made earlier that evening: “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33) Now here was Jesus, risen from the dead, inviting them to a lakeside cookout. Jesus gave these fisherman some miraculous advice (“Other side, fellas!”) and then served up a flame-broiled breakfast. He brought his closest friends together to restore and encourage and feed them. Their lives (and ours!) were eternally changed because Jesus said it was better for him to go away so that the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, would come and live in those who put their faith in Jesus.
The goal of All In Men is to encourage and equip men, through fellowship, outreach, and service, to walk closely with Jesus Christ and bring glory to God. AIM is gearing up for our Fall Meet Ups in October and we hope you will go to allinmen.org/meet-ups for more info. We are looking forward to gathering around a fire, eating a meal together, and connecting with old and new friends. Together we will grow in our love for the Lord, who lived, died, and rose again so we could be welcomed into the loving presence of our Heavenly Father.
Blessings, Ben, for the All In Men team